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Legal Separation: REAL Lawyers Representing YOUR Needs

Legal Separation Attorneys in Los Angeles

An Alternative to Divorce

Legal separation is one of three ways the parties to in a marriage or domestic partnership in California can determine their rights and responsibilities to their spouse when they part ways.

Much like divorce, legal separation involves the judicially determined resolution of issues such as division of property, spousal support, and child custody when spouses decide to live apart. Unlike a divorce, however, a legal separation does not completely terminate the marriage.

Legal separation is often seen as a quicker, more cost-effective, and less permanent approach to ending a marriage or domestic partnership. The Los Angeles legal separation attorneys at The Law Help Center can help you navigate the process with success.

Give us a call at (213) 444-3155 to schedule a consultation and discover if a legal separation is the right option for you.

Why Choose a Legal Separation

Legal separation can be preferable to divorce in a number of situations. For instance, if the parties to a marriage wish to live separately but maintain the possibility of reuniting in the future, a legal separation may be the best option. If divorce conflicts with a couple’s cultural or religious background, they may elect to pursue a legal separation as an alternative.

Legal separation also allows parties to maintain certain benefits of marriage, including employee health insurance and favorable tax treatment. Finally, legal separation in California may be an option for couples who are simply unsure if they want to incur the finality (and expense) of a divorce.

As an added benefit, there is no residency requirement for legal separation, while divorce requires at least one party to have lived in California for six months prior to filing.

How to File for Legal Separation

The process of legal separation is similar to the process of a divorce in that a party must prepare paperwork, petition the court, serve their spouse with the documents, and attempt to work out agreements on contested issues. Parties to a legal separation may agree in advance on how to divide their assets and debts, whether either party will receive alimony, and how child custody and parenting time will be structured. Alternatively, the parties may ask the court to decide these issues if they are unable to agree.

Although a legal separation is often considered temporary, most legal separations do ultimately lead to divorce. Often, the terms of a legal separation become the terms of the final divorce order. Therefore, it is critically important to approach these issues carefully and with the advice of an attorney. There is a real possibility that any temporary orders in connection with a legal separation may become permanent and final upon divorce.

How Long Does a Legal Separation Take?

Once a legal separation is ordered, it goes into effect immediately (unlike a divorce, which is only entered after a six-month “cooling off” period). However, parties to a legal separation are still legally married. They may not get remarried or enter into a domestic partnership unless they return to court to formally dissolve their marriage through the process of divorce.

Parties who are considering going to court for a legal separation often opt to avoid the court altogether and enter into a separation agreement. This is a contract between spouses that settles marital issues like property division, spousal support, and child custody without a court order.

If you would like to learn more about how to enter into a legal separation in California, call The Law Help Center at (213) 444-3155 to speak with our Los Angeles family law attorneys today.

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